Monday, December 30, 2013

"Naked" R75/5 Basic Clean up

Finally had a bit of "free" time so decided to get a start on the R75/5.
I removed the parts I had installed for transport....the tank, seat, rear luggage rack, mufflers.
She had about 10+ years of dust and dirt build up. anything that had oil / grease on it had grime stuck to it.

(click on photos to enlarge)

 I bought a can of hardware store Engine Degreaser which easily removed the small amount of crud which was present. Didn't want to "high pressure" wash the thing as it wasn't that bad. Used a stiff nylon brush and scrubbed where needed. Some grime around the push rod tube seals was tough to get to so a bit remained.

 I spent about an hour wiping down the frame and all parts accessible. The frame has its' share of scratches and marks from normal use....maybe I'll get some touch up paint to cover some of them to prevent any rust.

 The PO detailed the frame very well, but I did see a couple spots where the frame paint was a little thin, with a very slight hint of primer showing. There are only a couple spots which won't be visible when the bike is assembled.  Over all the bare bones bike looks real good and clean.

The "QSL Solo Seat" had  spacers in place which raised the seat at least one inch. I didn't like the height so removed the spacers and replaced the bolts. That lowered the seat a bit which allows me to sit flat footed on the bike. Not sure if I'm going to like the "Euro" low bars. My neck may not fair well bent over with a helmet on....we'll have to wait and see.
I'll be working day to day on the bike and should have it together and on the road in a week or two, barring any issues. It has a "silicone" oil pan gasket which appears to be leaking. I'll need to order a new papaer type pan gasket for sure. doesn't look like the newer silicone gasket is very good.
I will re assemble the bike and retain its' "patina" as it is. No repaints or polishing planned.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Last Chance Rendezvous 2013

 (click on images to enlarge)

 The closing of another year brings us once again to the "Airhead Beemers Club" Last Chance Rendezvous in the Anza-Borrego Desert.
 This years gathering brought about 70 - 80 some odd souls to the group camping site @ Agua Caliente
 County Park.

 It was great to see some of our old friends and some new ones. We've been coming to this event for nearly 20 years over the New Years Holidays. We missed the first year and one gathering a few years back when Family issues had to take priority.
We spent the Christmas Holiday in Montana  with Family, then flew back to Las Vegas NV. on Thursday. Arrived home in AZ. at 10:00 PM Thursday night so had to pack up in a hurry on Friday AM before heading to the desert. We still managed to arrive with plenty of day light remaining to get our campsite set up.

 These folks always have a nice shady set up....they pull trailers with their bikes so lots of extras can come along.
The weather was beautiful with zero wind and lots of sun. Saturday AM was a bit over cast but soon the sun was out. Temps were in the low 70's.
Lots of beverages available and great food was served as always.

One of the guys hauled in a comfy old couch for additional campfire seating.....unfortunately it found its' way into the camp fire on Saturday momentarily lit up the entire valley as it was consumed....of course this brought the attention of a Park Ranger who paid us a visit fairly quickly....
Over the past year, the Park removed some camp sites and built small cabins which are available to rent.
(in the back ground)

 Late Saturday afternoon a Big Horn Sheep was spotted high on the ridge above us.

 Binoculars came out and soon at least 5 sheep were counted. (thanks for the photo Steve)

Where have the years gone? Seems like just yesterday we started attending these gatherings. Now, nearly 20 years later, the majority of attendees are in their 50's - 60's. Sadly not many younger "new" folks are joining the festivities. A few of us laughed at what the future might bring. More and more, 4 wheeled contraptions are a method of transportation to the motorcycle rally......Such is life.....

Thursday, December 19, 2013

9* & snow

We made a mad dash for Las Vegas yesterday. Met a fellow Airhead who wanted a set of saddle bags I had for sale, so delivered them in Quartzsite on the way through. Crossing over I-10 on AZ 95 I spied a Ural sidecar rig going the opposite direction. We immediately recognized the rider as our friend John L. from Oregon. I had him on my "speed dial" so a quick call and he came over to say Hi.
We arrived in Henderson NV. at about dark and opted to stay at a small local Hotel which is cheap...and away from the main stream.
Off to McCarran Airport this AM and next thing we know, we are in the lovely 9* / fresh snow of the MT Winter. Can't say I like Winter anymore but is sure nice to see all the family.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

R75/5 Parts & wheel mystery

Realized a wheel spacer of some sort was missing yesterday when we partially assembled the R75 for transport. I found a spacer...which I thought was a wheel spacer & tried t install it this AM. Couldn't get things to fit and messed around for over an hour attempting to fit the wheel properly. Finally looked at one of the extra wheels I received and realized that the spacer was actually internal and was in the other wheel....once I figured that out the wheel lined up and installed with no issue...duh....

 Rolled the bike into the cargo trailer as time won't allow any work on it until probably January.

 Laid out all the  parts / spare parts for the bike to figure out what is there and what isn't. Appears that all necessary parts are present and accounted a lot of extra stuff....luggage, solo seat, hubs, wheels, cables, gaskets, seals, a headlight guard, extra electrical switches, bulbs, a small luggage rear rack, and a bags full of small new OEM parts which I haven't looked at. Plus nearly every BMW manual ever made and a factory parts book with parts numbers.

After stowing all the parts and the bike away my next task was to tear into the sidecar rig to replace the engine push rod tube seals. I've taken this machine apart so many times that it only took me about an hour to dissect it down to the bare bones.

 We rode through some muddy conditions over the past year so a lot of parts need to be cleaned up before the oil leaks I've been nursing for the past season made a mess of things.

 I found that with the "Brielle" oil cooler I installed last year, I cannot deploy the center stand as it hits the (now lower) oil pan. No big deal as I've never used the center stand other than when the bike is pulled apart. I removed the center stand and will just put it away for now.
The R100RT I have has an oil cooler on it which could likely be used on this engine. Problem is that the thermostat control unit is large and will probably interfere with the side car sub frame.
When installing a oil cooler, I believe the center tube for the filter has to be changed....don't really want to attempt that. 

By the time I was ready to begin the actual engine work it was 2:30 pm so I decided to go for it early tomorrow. Should be able to accomplish the work in 4 hours or less I figure.
Cleaning things up and reassembling the bike / side car will take a few more hours. Might be able to get it all done tomorrow....we'll see. If not tomorrow I'll be able to easily finish it on Monday.
We leave for MT. on Wednesday so have to have it all done and ready to roll on Tuesday. We plan on running the side car to the Airheads "Last Chance Rendezvous" on the 27th.

A Yuma friend needed some help removing a Gold Wing ignition switch so I ran over and removed the switch for him and liberated one of his "Modelo Negras" for my efforts. 

SUNDAY 12-15-13:

Got a fairly early start and set up a work area in the cargo trailer. The wind was gusting about so didn't want to work on the engine out in the open.
The push rod tube seal replacement only took a couple of hours. I pulled the cylinders / head out as a "unit" and did not remove the pistons. This gave plenty of room to access the push rod tube seals. A problem was found in that the left side  ( the ones that were leaking), the push rod tube collars which contact the seals were loose on one side, therefore not applying the required pressure to seal the tube seal. The only fix for this, as far as I know, is to replace the push rod tubes....since my time line doesn't allow that, I simply placed a small hose clamp on each tube to keep the collar in place. Not the proper fix, but will likely get me through the Winter...or until I get new tubes.
Upon completion of the tube seal replacement, I rolled the bike out and affixed it to the sidecar. The attachment went well and only took a little while.
I cleaned up the headers / mufflers before installation. I have the assembly process down to a pattern as i have dissassembled the machine many times. It looks like a major "tear down" but in reality it is a very simple process.
I pulled the side car wheel hub cap to check the bearings / axle nut.....the axle nut had actually "unscrewed" itseld a small amount.....maybe an 1/8 of a turn.  When we ran the "Hannigan Meadows" highway  last Labor Day, the rig handled 115 miles of twisties. A lot of load on the axle....I will keep closer tabs on it in the future. This is the first time this has occured in over 5 years of riding.
I ran a couple miles on the bike to make sure all was leaks yet....I'll change the oil tomorrow and rack up a few more miles on the rig.

Friday, December 13, 2013

CA. or Bust?

We ran over to the San Diego area to retrieve the 1971 R75/5 yesterday. The ole fellow has been sitting along the wall for nearly 10 years in this form. It was surrounded by tools, paint cans and various garage goodies.

 I was a little surprised by the "stripped down" mode it was in as I thought it was more together than this.
46k original miles on the odometer.

 There were so many boxes of parts that it all wouldn't fit in the car so we had to perform a little "quick" assembly to get everything on board. The trunk / back seat were full.
The paint has a few "dings" but the fenders & tank are very presentable.

The bike came with panniers & rack, small rear luggage rack, a rear top case, two QSL Solo Seats, the correct OEM Zuena Cigar mufflers.
It included boxes of spare parts, wheels, hubs and a lot of additional stuff.

This will be a longer term assembly than I thought but won't take too much to get it on the road. Unfortunately a front axle wheel spacer is missing so the front wheel isn't oriented as it should be.....- edit - went digging through my "spares" box and lo and behold I found a /5 front axle wheel spacer.....yay!

I'll dig into it in January. First priority is to get the sidecar rig push rod tube seals installed, which I will work on over the next few days.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

"New" 1971 R75/5 Preparations

I received the /5 wheels I had purchased via EBay. The wheels appear to be pretty good. They showed years of neglect as far as cleaning / polishing. They both likely came from derelict bikes which had been sitting.
I pulled the chrome "hub caps" and tapped out a couple minor "dings" on each one. One "hub cap" has a bit more shine than the other....I think I'll end up with at least 4 more of the "caps" tomorrow when I pick up the bike, so will likely have a selection to choose from. The seller has an extra set of wheels and the original hubs. While in the wheel hubs, I checked the wheel bearings and they all looked good. I used a specialized wheel bearing greasing tool I had and purged in some Marine grade wheel bearing grease. The bearings will probably outlast me. The bearing flange / hub cap bolt heads were all pitted and ugly. I wire wheeled them clean but they still look bad. I'll come up with some Stainless Steel replacements later as the local supply down the street didn't have the correct fasteners.
I spent a couple hours on each wheel cleaning the rims / spokes as best I could. They actually came out looking pretty good. I've found that a simple old SOS pad works the best. Everyone swears by "Scotch Brite" pads but my success with them has been poor....maybe if I scrubbed with them for a week or two they might do something? I've tried  numerous other types of cleaning methods but the SOS pads work good on the alloy Weinmann rims IMO. Each wheel had some previous wheel tool scars but I've seen a lot worse. I took a fine file to a couple of the rough scars to clean them up. Some surface rust on the spokes came off real easily....but I'll do a little more on them later.
I ordered a new rear tire but it didn't arrive yet so I mounted an old 18" rear tire I hadn't thrown away yet. It has a little tread left but came from the sidecar tug so has a pretty "square" wear pattern. I mounted a fairly new 19" front tire I had as a spare. That gives me two tires / rims to get the "new" R75/5 into a "rolling chassis" mode so I can haul it on my trailer.
Sounds like I'll have quite a large amount of /5 stuff coming my way.
The bike includes a set of new (12 years ago) panniers & Krauser inner bags (I gave to him 10 years ago), a rear top case,  two QSL Tuetonic 1000 Mile Solo Seats, two extra wheels and hubs, some specialized /5 tools and manuals. Not sure what else.
I'll try to use the original Bing series /3 & /4 carbs but they had numerous problems direct from the manufacturer. Most folks replaced them with the series  /9 & /10 models. I might use the R100 32mm Bing carbs I have on the bike. I have a large assorted selection of spare Bing needle / main jets so should be able to make it work....the only issue will be the choke (enrichener) cables as they will be different. I want the bike to be totally reliable and somewhat stock in appearance. Most folks don't know a /5 from a /6 or a /7 for that matter so it doesn't really matter....I'm putting together a "driver"...not a "show" bike. To hell with the "purists"
I loaded up my wheels, tie down straps and a few tools as we will need to somewhat assemble the machine to a rolling chassis mode tomorrow afternoon. I think the bike is mostly together except that the fenders / wheels have been removed.
I looked at the bike in its' present state about 6 years ago but don't recall everything.....except I know when he was riding the machine years ago it was a beauty.
I'll try to get some photos tomorrow to document the process if I remember.

Saturday, December 7, 2013


Spent a few hours yesterday installing an OEM Honda exhaust system on the Gold Wing. I had acquired an exhaust system in New Mexico a couple months ago, but a friend here in Yuma also had one. I offered him my Jardine Headers / mufflers in exchange for the stock system. Done deal.
I wire brushed / cleaned the headers / muffler then gave them a new coat of  flat black Heat Paint. Installing the system was a little tricky but with the help of my lovely Wife I was able to get everything into place. The "new" muffler had sustained some damage I didn't initially see, but nothing too terrible. I installed the chrome covers I already had as mine were better than the others. I also had a set of chrome header covers, but decided not to use them.
The replacement OEM system probably adds 20 lbs. to the bike as the headers are cast iron, and the "horse shoe" muffler is quite heavy.
I love the more subdued sound of the stock exhaust system. Must be a sign of age as at one time I loved the roar of an engine....these days I prefer to be more "under the radar" when it comes to decibels.
Plus I like the unique look of the stock system.
I'm still "sporting" the old school backrest I installed last Spring to take my Wife for a ride. 

A couple of years ago I bought a new "Air Cut-off" valve as I thought it might be bad. I had removed the old one and found nothing wrong, but ordered a new one anyway. I decided today to install the new one. Upon removal of the existing assembly, I found that a small (obscurely placed) o-ring was missing, which would have caused a constant vacuum minor leak. I only realized it was missing when I opened the new kit and found three o-rings, when I was only expecting 2 o-rings.
Also found a broken piece of plastic on the top of one of the the top cover above the slide.
The plastic appeared to be old and fractured. I fashioned a piece of rubber plug and affixed / sealed it to replace the broken piece. Removing the slide top would have meant removing the entire carb. assembly, which I was not prepared to do today. The white plastic piece is permanently affixed and is not a replacement part. I'd need to replace the entire cover assembly section to properly repair it. My repair will likely last indefinitely. 
The culprit carb top after repair.
Also picked up some oil / filter and performed an oil change. Was at 2700 miles since last Winters service so it was due.

After these repairs I decided to run up over the Telegraph Pass to Lagurta Station, a local watering hole between Yuma and Wellton AZ. Stopped for one quick "cold one" and visited with one of the locals for a while. 
Cannot believe how quiet the bike now is. It seemed to run a lot better and no longer am experiencing the intermittent "huff" through the exhaust system.
Not sure which repair made the differences but between the small faults found / fixed and the replaced exhaust system the bike seems to be running better. The minor vacuum leak would have caused issues. The idle increased about 700 RPM after the repairs, so I idled it back down to where it should be.
I am a BMW motorcycle fanatic but the old GL 1000 Gold Wing is one of the most pleasant highway machines I've ever owned.

Friday, December 6, 2013

It's Alive!

Spent a few hours and checked out the  R100 Mono today.
Pulled the airbox.... Found that the rodents only got into the upper filter area and not into the carb intake areas.  Even so, it appeared that their time there was short as debris found was minimal. I removed the fuel tank and rigged a small syringe for temporary fuel supply. I removed the spark plugs and peered into the cylinders with a light. All looked good. Put the transmission in high gear and the engine turned over smoothly with a turn of the wheel.

I have a spare AGM battery so I installed it. Looking at the wiring mess under the tank, I feared there might be issues with the wiring. Hooking the ground wire last, caused no "sparking" so all appeared OK. A shot of ether with choke application and the engine fired right up. Amazingly, it idled perfectly after a minute of run time. Had a little smoke for a few minutes but it cleared up real quickly.
I removed / cleaned the fuel taps, flushed a little gas through the tank and re-installed it. I took the bike around the block a couple times to be sure the transmission functioned. All systems appear to be a "go".
Oil light functioned, as did the generator / neutral light.
I removed the broken saddle bag mounts and the rear trunk bracket. I'll likely sell the saddle bags separately. Also pulled the "Brown" manufactured side stand as I may need it for my "new" R75/5, which I plan on picking up in San Diego sometime next week.
After a little thought, I decided to list the bike on Craigslist to see if anyone would be interested. I did a quick wipe down and took a few photos.
If the bike doesn't get near my asking price ($1350.00...which is on the high side), I'll tear it down and start parting it out. I might keep the engine & transmission for spares if ever needed. We'll see what comes from the C'list ad.  
 I also visited a friend today who acquired an early GL1000 Honda earlier this year. The bike has a nice OEM Honda GL 1000 exhaust system. He wanted my after market Jardine headers / mufflers for his bike so we agreed on a "swap".  I'll give the system a fresh coat of  flat black "heat paint" tomorrow and install the system. I'm curious how much quieter the engine will sound.(?).
Also have new push rod tube seals coming for the sidecar bike so that will get going upon the receipt of the parts.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Winter Motorcycle Projects

We made it to Yuma this afternoon, fortunately missing all the treacherous icy roads which were only about 2 hours behind us on our trip South.
I found a front /  rear BMW R75/5 wheel for my "soon to be" new 1971 R75/5 Project.
Watched on EBay for a while and bid on / purchased the pair for under $150.00.
I'm excited to pick up the R75/5. Was planning on getting the bike after the first of the year but we'll be back in MT. for Christmas so want to have the title when we return so I can get the bike licensed. I'll be contacting the seller soon and hope to pick up the bike in the next couple of weeks. Now that I have a pair of wheels coming, I can install them and haul it on my little trailer. I have a pair of tires I can mount on the rims.
 The seller of the R75/5 had already purchased a pair of /5 wheels a few years ago, but one of them had bad wheel bearings and he was not happy with them. He was going to purchase new rims / spoke sets and have new wheels built to the tune of $800.00 or so. I think these wheels I've bought will fill the order, although they likely won't be "show quality" but I don't really care about long as they are functional.

I also ordered a set of pushrod tube seals for the sidecar rig, so will be installing them as soon as I receive them. I attempted to get seals in Las Vegas when passing through yesterday, but the BMW Motorcycle dealer there did not have them on hand. Strange that the BMW dealer doesn't stock any older parts. I ended up ordering them from the Escondido Ca. dealership. Suprisingly, the Parts Counterman did not know what a BMW Airhead push rod tube seal was.....I guess the requirements for becoming a BMW Motorcycle "Parts Man" doesn't require having any knowledge of fairly common BMW motorcycle parts. Unbelievable to me....The R75 will require some assembly and a good looking over before putting it back onto the road.

I also will be removing the aftermarket "Jardine" headers from my Honda GL 1000 Goldwing and replacing them with a stock set of headers / muffler. I acquired an original set, and a local friend here also has a set he has offered me in trade for my "Jardine's". I'll have to look at his "perfect" set prior to agreeing to a swap. The "Jardine" setup sells for over $500.00 new....and mine look "as new". The Honda OEM set I have is a little rough, and he claims his set is in "perfect" condition...we'll see.
Below is a similar OEM "Horseshoe" Honda GL 1000 muffler. 

I'll also be checking out the running gear on the 1988 BMW R100 Mono I picked up in New Mexico. I want to get the engine running and run the bike a few miles to check out the engine and transmission. Either I will spend some effort and sell the bike as a "runner" or part the thing out. I'm undecided on which route to take. The engine / transmission would be a fine "spare" for the sidecar rig....but on the other hand, the bike would bring well over $2000.00 in parts sales. As a running bike, I might get $1200.00 - $1500.00 if I put some work and a few bucks into it.
I was looking for another small bike project, but my list is already pretty long so probably good I didn't pick up anything else. I found this old Honda 400cc "Hawk" for $250.00 but didn't get to look at it before leaving MT.......I'll check it out in the Spring if it is still available.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Busy week. We moved our RV over to Yuma AZ. from NM after sitting out a blizzard in Deming. Spent 24 hours in Yuma, then made a mad dash to Billings MT. to retrieve our car and drop off my work truck.Also got in a visit with our Daughter and her family. Planned on spending more time there but the weather chased us out of town.
I had out some "feelers" looking for motorcycles and missed one by a few hours. A fellow offered me a Honda 400 Hawk for $250.00....pretty good price. I'll put it on my list for next Spring. We were 100 miles out of Billings when the guy called me.
We had planned on heading back to Yuma on Tuesday, but a massive Winter storm changed our plans and we opted to head South this AM. We hit some rough roads in MT. but missed most of the storm and drove over 800 miles, arriving in southern Utah at 1:00 AM.
Heavy snow is forecast here tomorrow mid day but we'll be long gone by the time it hits here. We were only a few hours ahead of the storm all day. We had a couple nasty sections of road with snow / ice but got real lucky in missing what was coming down from the North. Billings is forecasting -15 tomorrow night.

Gila Mtns.

Gila Mtns.